SUICIDE IN LEBANON : ON THE RISE ?

“Suicide of indebted father sparks anger on the streets”, “Man commits suicide after failing to provide for his family”, “Lebanese man commits suicide over economic situation”, “ISF member commits suicide in Akkar”… These are only a few of the headlines seen in the press the past few days. Has the number of suicides in Lebanon increased lately?

Facts about Lebanon

There is a case of suicide every 3 days in Lebanon and a suicide attempt every 6 hours because, for every completed suicide, it is estimated that there are 20 failed attempts, according to Embrace Association for Mental Health Awareness.

Lebanon is not like the rest of the world; it is a very small and tight community and when a suicide is committed, the whole area knows about it, and it is everywhere on social media. And suicide is said to be contagious. Once it is publicized, it might affect vulnerable people and encourage them to take their own lives, too, warn mental health specialists.

Number of suicides per year (2009-2018).

Year No. of suicides
2009 112
2010 107
2011 102
2012 108
2013 111
2014 144
2015 138
2016 128
2017 143
2018 200

  Source: Directorate General of Internal Security Forces

The crisis as a trigger?

As the country sinks deeper in an economic and financial crisis, things seem to be taking a down-turn on the human level as well. Which is quite understandable. Look around you. For most people, it has been a struggle for years, in this country that is deeply rooted in its socio-politico-economic problems. And clearly, depression spares no one. Sadly, suicide rates have been growing a bit too steadily ! Even more so now… Are we addressing the issue the proper way ? Not only is it not talked about enough, but there’s also a stigma associated with it, which dangerously discourages sufferers from seeking help. Yet, there are a few steps that can be taken.

Responsible reporting

It is news to no one, the media can have a powerful influence on people’s behavior. More than 50 international studies have found that certain types of media coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide for some individuals who are at risk. Headlines, language, images and even the decision to report on suicide can all have an impact on individuals. And the fact that today, every individual potentially is a media platform, social influence and impact is growing. Potentially, each and every one of us can influence those at risk. So we need to take that into consideration in the way we report. It is time for responsible and deglamorized reporting !

At the population level, responsible reporting of suicide is also recommended for the reduction of suicidal behaviors :

  • avoiding language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide or presents it as a solution to a problem,
  • avoiding pictures and explicit description of the method used providing information about where to seek help

Embrace: A suicide prevention hotline in Lebanon

Specialists said depression is the most common mental disorder leading to suicide in Lebanon. In October 2018, Embrace introduced Lebanon’s first suicide prevention hotline number — 1564 — offering emotional support to callers as well as referrals to suitable treatment centres.

The very essence of humanity

Everything in life has a cause and an effect. As human beings, we are bound to encounter troubling times, but taking our own lives will undoubtedly only increase and intensify the suffering of our loved ones. In Lebanon, exacerbating social, financial and economic hardships over the past couple years have definitely seen an increase in suicide rates. If you feel emotional distress, or know anyone going through very tough times and prone to commit suicide, call 1564. Save a life if you can !

WHEN TO CALL A HOTLINE

  • Why do people commit suicide?
  • What to do when you feel Suicidal
  • What to do when you hurt someone so badly that the person feels like committing suicide?
  • How to Deal with Suicidal Thoughts?
  • Learn How to Heal a Broken Heart and Prevent Suicide after Breakup
  • From Failure to Success – Learn How to Overcome Failure and Prevent Suicide
  • When bad things happen do you ever think, ‘I want to end my suffering. I want to end my life’?
  • ‘I lost my job. I am in debt. I want to die.’ Get Debt Advice and Prevent Suicide over Debt
  • My loved one died. I am alone and I don’t want to live anymore. Is loneliness suicide a solution?
  • Are you living with chronic pain and considering chronic pain suicide?
  • No one understands me. No one cares about me. I want to end my life. What should I do?
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